Andrew Boden: APSA Executive Director

Getting that New Job Description

June 5, 2023

I had a conversation with Ruby (not her real name) about JD reevaluations, which reminded me of similar talks I’ve had with many of you, our members, over the years. It turned out that for a long time Ruby’s director had been promising her that she’d rewrite Ruby’s JD to reflect her new job responsibilities.

“Three years went by,” Ruby said, “and I still haven’t heard back from anyone about whether my JD has changed. My director said that I’d likely be going up at least a salary grade.”

I asked Ruby if she’d received any confirmation that the new JD reevaluation for her position had been submitted to SFU Compensation. Ruby said that she wasn’t sure, and I noted that was the first step: to find out if a new JD for her had ever been submitted and, if so, when and what the result was.

Ruby was shocked to find out that, after three years, her new JD had never been submitted for reevaluation. She was even more disappointed to learn that any backpay—should the salary grade for her position be adjusted to a higher one—typically only goes back to the date of formal submission of the new JD to Human Resources. Even if her director submitted her new JD today, she wouldn’t be getting anything like three years of backpay to reflect a potential salary upgrade.

It’s a situation many of you may have found yourselves in, especially after your position’s duties have evolved in the ensuing months or years that you’ve been in your role. The good news is that there is language in the AD policies that you can rely on to find further accountability in the process.

From AD 10.06, article 8.01 c:

“Requests for Position Reevaluation that are initiated by the Employee should be submitted to the supervisor to ensure that any changes in responsibilities have the approval of the line organization. The supervisor should forward the request to Human Resources within ten (10) working days.”

So, you can initiate a request formally under this policy and also, your leadership does have an obligation to submit the request in a timely fashion — within ten working days. It’s also important to ensure that your requests are in writing so that you can rely on a written record if you need to at a later date.

The key thing to remember is that many directors, managers and supervisors are just as overwhelmed these days as anyone else on campus. It’s essential to begin your request for a JD reevaluation with a conversation with your manager and note where there have been changes to your duties and so on. This is just good practice to maintain your working relationships with your leadership and is also very helpful for any JD rewrites. 

Now, if after the informal conversations with your manager, you still feel as if your request isn’t being respected — that’s the time to rely on the text from AD 10.06 quoted above. As in Ruby’s case, three years shouldn’t pass without you knowing if your JD has even been submitted.

If you receive news that you haven’t received a lift in your salary grade, do ensure that you ask for a copy of the decision in writing. You’ll want to be sure that the reasons why you didn’t receive a salary upgrade are reasonable, fair and transparent. You shouldn’t be left wondering why the results of your JD reevaluation may not have been in your favour.

As always, we're to help you at any time. Meeting with me or my team is 100% confidential.